Saturday, October 5, 2013

Game 119: Dragon Lord (1990)


Dragon Lord (aka Dragon's Breath)
Outlaw Productions (developer), Palace Software & Spotlight Software (publishers)
Andrew Bailey (creator)
Released 1990 for DOS, Amiga, Atari ST
Date Started: 1 October 2013
Date Ended: 5 October 2013
Total Hours: 8
Difficulty: Moderate (3/5)
Reload Count: 5 (campaigns played)
Final Rating: 22
Ranking at Time of Posting: 32/118 (27%)

Dragon Lord is an odd game, not quite an RPG, not quite a pure strategy game. It's basically a computerized board game. I think I would have been justified in eliminating it from my list, but once I'd explored the game long enough to realize that it didn't really qualify, I also realized it wouldn't take more than one post to cover.

The game takes place in a land called Anrea, a place of villages, farms, and forests, dominated by a giant spire in the center called Dwarf Mountain. A castle at the top of the mountain is rumored to contain the secret to immortality, but a three-part talisman is needed to gain entrance. The parts of the talisman are randomly scattered about the land, and each of three players is desperately trying to find them. The goal of the game is to find all three parts and occupy their surrounding villages. Once any single player gets a "monopoly" of talismans, she wins the game.

The game map, with Dwarf Mountain int he center and three PCs' castles on the outer edges. I think even if I wasn't color-blind, the flags would be awfully small to identify colors.

What's unique about the game is that the three contenders have no armies. Instead, each is a master of breeding and training dragons. It's the dragons that do all the work, flying across the map to search for the three talismans, attacking enemies, and conquering villages. As the game begins, each player has only one dragon, but players can breed more through a long and expensive process of incubating eggs; each player starts with 20. You need a minimum of three dragons to win the game, which means you need to conquer cities and raise taxes to be able to afford to incubate and hatch them.

Scouting for the location of my next dragon strike.

Each of the three characters can be controlled by the computer or a human player. They are Bachim the Alchemist, Quered the She-Vampire, and Ametrin the Green Beast. On the map, their various holdings and dragons are represented by the colors blue, green, and red. What color is Ametrin the Green Beast? You'd think green, right? You'd be wrong. It's red. In any event, I can't tell the red and green apart so I played as Bachim for most of the games. The game opens with a weird little story in which Bachim sacrifices a young girl to a dragon, but no mention is ever made of this again.

The three PCs, each of which can be controlled by a player or by the computer.

The game is mostly mouse-driven, with support for both keyboard and joystick in a crucial gameplay mode where you control your dragon, breathing fire on townspeople and their defenses. Aside from this one screen, the keyboard is best left alone, as a stray finger on the ESC key immediately crashes the game and dumps you to DOS.

Controlling the dragon while strafing a town.

Each round lasts a month, and each player generally wants to begin by going to the library and reviewing current accounts, including finances, news, and reports of whatever was accomplished during the dragons' flights in the previous month.


After that, the player has options to:

1. Send a dragon to raid or conquer a village, scout the countryside, or guard a talisman (if found). If you attack a village, you specify the dragon's level of "zeal" (attack versus defense ratio) or whether to fly the dragon yourself. You can also specify whether the dragon should return after the attack or stay and capture the city. Increased zeal means a greater number of enemies killed and thus a greater likelihood of a successful conquest, but it also increases the chances the dragon will be killed.

Computer-controlled village conquering.

2. Review the stable of dragons and cast spells to heal dragons and increase their characteristics.


3. Manage the incubation of new dragon eggs and cast spells on them to determine the hatched dragon's characteristics.

Incubating dragon eggs. The hourglass tells you how long you have to go. The wheel is used to adjust heat levels, which can speed up incubation time but costs more money each month.

4. Cast spells on villages to increase or decrease the populations.

5. Purchase spell ingredients from traders.


6. Adjust the taxation levels of already-conquered cities.

My citizens always seem to be on the verge of revolt, no matter how little I tax them.

Each kingdom requires a certain amount of maintenance each month, and incubating dragon eggs costs money for the heat, so conquest and taxation of towns is necessary to make money. (Though if you tax too much, the citizens may revolt and destroy their own villages.) A monthly "Area Happenings" log indicates what villages are at war with each other, sometimes leading to kidnappings and hostage situations, which a timely dragon attack can resolve, leading to a reward from the aggrieved party.

With the exception of spells, the gameplay elements aren't terribly complicated--there's no detailed resource management that you find in pure strategy games--but the graphics are terrific. Each player's turn starts with a nice panoramic of his or her respective castle, and there are equally good graphics for the incubation chamber, dragon stables, and other aspects of the game.

The main screen for Ametrin. The icons on the bottom allow him to see the world map, review dragons, incubate eggs, review accounts, and cast spells.

In contrast to the rest of the game, the spell system is utterly baffling. Perhaps it's because I don't have the original documentation (the only manual I could find was text-only), but I can't make heads or tails of it. There are 2 ingredients of various properties that can be cut, ground, and mixed in various quantities and at various heat levels. The game gives no recipes for its spells, only suggesting that you experiment and create your own spell list. How?

I have no idea what's going on here.

Although the right spells can improve your finances and egg supplies, bolster dragons, and fortify or damage villages, they're not strictly necessary to win. But the manual warns that even if you don't do anything with spells, "other players (especially computer-controlled characters) probably will and thus [will] have an advantage." Moreover, using these spells decreases the chances that your dragon will die, which is an extremely painful setback, given how long it takes to incubate and hatch one.


The game barely meets two of my criteria for RPGs: "character" development (in the incubation and spell-fortification of dragons) and statistics-based combat, but both are largely dependent on the optional spell system. In reality, the game more resembles a medieval Monopoly as you amass cities and taxes and try to find the right combination of squares for the talismans.

During my gameplay, the biggest difficulty I had was staying solvent. (If you run out of gold, your game essentially ends.) You really can't let the grass grow; you have to send all your dragons on missions of conquest each month and tax the bejesus out of your conquered cities to keep enough in the coffers.

After a few failed campaigns, I "won" in kind of a lame way, by controlling two of the characters against a computer-controlled third. This allowed me to concentrate more on developing dragons and searching and less on battle. The computer-controlled character eventually lost all his money and dragons and retired.  Even with other players out of the game, though, there's no guarantee that you'll win. The talismans are hard to find, sometimes requiring multiple scouting trips to each area of the map, and you could easily run out of funds or dragons during this process.

Even with no competition, this screen took over an hour to achieve.


The game wasn't designed as a traditional CRPG, and thus won't do well in my GIMLET. I give it:

  • 3 points for the game world. The back story is only okay, and the PCs effect real changes on the campaign map, but there's no real "lore" here. One element I did like was the constant feuding between towns and their lords--feuding that you can solve once and for all with a dragon attack. Towns also collapse and appear during the course of the game.

Having conquered this city, I get a reward from its rivals.

  • 1 point for character creation and development. Creation and development of "characters" is done through drag incubation and spellcasting. The spellcasting system is too damned hard to figure out and "development" is thus an optional aspect of the game. You can name hatched dragons, though.

Dragon hatching is the only character "creation" the game offers.

  • 0 points for NPC interaction. There is none.
  • 2 points for encounters and foes. There are none of either in the traditional RPG sense, so the points are more a reflection of the way you must plot conquest and searching routes across the battle map, evaluating strengths and weaknesses of various cities, and administering your conquests.
  • 4 points for magic and combat. This is another category tough to review in a typical RPG sense. But there are some tactics associated with combat, in the way you evaluate a city and decide what strategies to use. There are more tactics associated with the action-oriented version of the combat, which I never really mastered. I'm taking it on faith that the spell system is interesting and awarding a point for it, but I don't understand it at all and I'm not willing to keep playing the game long enough to figure it out.

Dragons can fight each other if they appear in the same square.

  • 1 point for equipment. I give it to the various spell reagents and the trading system that allows you to buy them. There are no weapons, armor, or standard CRPG equipment in the game.
  • 4 points for the economy, perhaps the strongest part of the game. Maintaining and incubating dragons is expensive, and gold is a precious resource. The game encourages you to plan your conquests with this in mind, favoring attacks on cities whose enemies will reward you, or rescuing hostages taken by one city or another. Throughout the game, my ledger was a far more effective foe than any of my computer-controlled fellow PCs.

Out of both money and dragons, there's nothing left for Bachim to do.

  • 1 point for the quests. One main quest, not very interesting. No options, no side-quests. You would expect none in a strategy game.
  • 4 points for graphics, sound, and interface. The graphics are very nice. The sound effects are sparse, but not annoying, and there's an occasional bit of victory or death music. I found the mostly mouse-based controls intuitive enough, but it takes too many clicks to accomplish some simple goals.
  • 2 points for gameplay. It gets these by being "replayable," which of course is the entire point of board-game-inspired strategy games. I felt that each campaign was a little too long and difficult (you could control all three characters and still not be guaranteed a victory thanks to dragon deaths and the vagaries of finances).
 
The final score of 22 is very low. The game has great graphics and some interesting ideas, but I didn't enjoy it as an RPG, and I didn't enjoy it for whatever it was supposed to be.


The game was developed by Outlaw Productions and published by Palace Software in the U.K. (as Dragon's Breath) and by Spotlight Software in the U.S. Palace was known primarily for action games, and this is the only game in its catalog that even pretends to be an RPG. The creator of the game, Andrew Bailey, has a little retrospective of the game on the side of his current company, Drop Spider. It's the second game I've played that was originally published in the U.K., and like the previous one, Galdregon's Domain, it has an alternate title in the U.S., questionable RPG credentials, and absolutely lovely graphics. What was it about this era that made U.K. developers focus so much on graphics yet still not "get" CRPGs?

That was a quick one. On to Wizardry VI!

72 comments:

  1. I buzzed the title and got excited you were doing Death Lord on AppleII/c64

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    1. Yeah, that would be "great" :)

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  2. "...as a stray finger on the ESC key immediately crashes the game and dumps you to DOS."

    Perhaps the truest use of the Escape key as there ever has been?

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    1. Well, the fact I don't have one of those (just a nub I hite when needed) wouldn't be so bad then.

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  3. Finally it's Wizardry VI. Can't wait to hear your take on that game, especially after how little you seemed to enjoy the rest of the Wizardry games.

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  4. Perhaps your issues with the spell system are copy protection related?

    The original developer says:

    "Beware of some of the Amiga images, they may work correctly, even if they appear to work. This is due to the original disk copy protection that sliently introduced flaws into the game if the protection was hacked, like the spell system always blowing up. The ones that still require you to enter words from the manual (usually supplied as well) are more likely to work. "

    I know it says Amiga, but the same system might have existed on the PC.

    Did you have to type in words from the manual?

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    1. No, the problem wasn't that I couldn't physically mix the spells, it's that I didn't understand the complicated spell system and didn't know exactly what ingredients to mix. If I thought I was going to play the game for more than one post, I would have taken the time to learn it.

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  5. The way you explain the kidnappings and feuds between the villages, couldn't those be considered as side quests even if you're not given them by anyone directly?

    Not that I'd want you to change the score or anything, just wondering. (And I think you already did provide points for it in the game world category.)

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    1. You have a point that the kidnappings and feuds better belonged to the "quest" category than the "game world" category.

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    2. I think the Reviewer has missed the point of this game entirely. Since you don't have access to the spell system charts, and because you don't understand it, you are missing 90% of the game. I played this game when it came out, so I have an in depth understanding of how it works. Each herb in the game has a series of properties when used on a one of elements of the Game: The Player, Dragons, Eggs, and Towns. Each of these basic properties were modified by how the herb was prepared. Chop for one effect, grind for another. Heating, cooling and condensing suppressed or empowered certain asspects so it was possible to create or reduce side effects of your alchemy creations. For instance a simple potion would increase population growth, but a side effect was increased risk of disease. By tweaking this spell recipe you could reduce or remove traits you didn't like from the concoction. The sames worked for dragons, you could make them tougher, smarter, and with better eyesight etc. also you could heal them, or do any number of other things. Towns you could make grow faster, or poison them and kill them off. Towns of different races warred constantly, so you could practice racial purity and effectively "curse" a race you didn't favor and wipe them out without ever risking a dragon on them. You can bless your own favored towns with increased mood, birth rates and victory in battles so they paid more taxes. Eggs you could incubate properly and increase their stat maximums so you could later create supoer beasts that could wipe out entire cities in a single pass, or eat enemies dragons for lunch. There is so much to this game the reviewer did not experience I thinks he can hardly say that this game was objectively reviewed. But, I will say, this game does, in no way, present itself has a legit CRPG. Its definitely an Arcade/Strategy hybrid. As such I think its being reviewed for its miniscule CRPG elements is a mistake, it doesn't really fit the genre any more than Call of Duty does (mayde even less so). The story elements are superficial, and exist only insofar as they exist to explain why/how you can win the game. FYI a simple, 30 second search on google has found a PDF version of the original documents including the spell charts that you can use while playing this. A fun game and a bit of nostalgia for me, but I've played much better.

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    3. I just love when people come on my blog and refer to me as "the reviewer."

      Nonetheless, I appreciate the additional context on the spells. I did admit repeatedly that not being able to cover the spell system was a weakness in my post, but as you admit, it's not really a CRPG, so that was about as much time as I was willing to invest.

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  6. To pick up your point on:

    "It's the second game I've played that was originally published in the U.K., and like the previous one, Galdregon's Domain, it has an alternate title in the U.S., questionable RPG credentials, and absolutely lovely graphics. What was it about this era that made U.K. developers focus so much on graphics yet still not "get" CRPGs?"

    Both games are Amiga first games, for the Euro market ported to PC later.

    Both of these games are clearly successors to C64 / Amiga modes of gameplay. They key difference for both those systems is that there is always a joystick, so action oriented game play is more common.

    The european market also tended to be more budget in game prices than the US market - so you get a lot of smaller, more experimental games like this one. In many ways the Euro game market mirrored the current indy scene.

    Great graphics were also feature of C64 / Amiga, which were clearly superior to IBM until the advent of VGA, and really only got surpassed by Super VGA. It's really only 1990 that this happens.

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    1. I would place 1990's release of Wing Commander as the point in time when the PC truly surpassed the Amiga in terms of graphical capabilities. From on there, it went only downhill for C=.
      Three years later, Doom was released, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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    2. I'm not sure I see how designing with the C64/Amiga in mind explains the better graphics. Pretty much EVERY game I've played in the 1980s was written primarily for platforms with better graphics than DOS, but the DOS versions still sucked. Many developers took years to take advantage of EGA when it was available, and then took years to take advantage of VGA when it was available.

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    3. It's worth noting that EGA and then VGA video cards tended to be very expensive early on and that meant few people owned them. That explains, at least in part, why some game developers were slow to take advantage of them. Same with sound cards.

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    4. Yes, but with the exception of Dungeon Master, RPGs weren't exactly known for their graphical fidelity, i.e., their graphics sucked even on those other platforms. And IIRC, most American-developed CRPGs (the Ultimas, Wizardrys, Bard's Tales and Might&Magics) had the Apple II as their primary platform, which suffered much of the same graphical limitations as the PC, even though it had a richer color palette than at least CGA.
      Dragon Lord/Breath is a much more "typical" Amiga game - a genre mish-mash with action elements, and it was released at a time when developers first took advance of the VGA card.

      If you want to see the *true* graphical powerhouses on the Amiga, take a look at Cinemaware's games - especially Defender of the Crown and It Came from the Desert.

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    5. I think it was definitely DOOM that killed the Amiga, along with Windows 95 (pre-emptive multi-tasking at last).

      Up to then PCs had better hi-res graphics for strategy games with lots of numbers, but the Amiga was sufficiently colourful and the graphics system was good for arcade-type games.

      But the Amiga custom graphics were no good for DOOM, and the CPU was too slow to emulate them. Meanwhile the PC was getting more and more powerful. It was the end.

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    6. For me it was Ultima Underworld that killed the Amiga.
      It was too bad that everything Commodore did after launching the Amiga 500 was too little, too late...

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    7. The Amiga was never that successfull in the United States to beginn with, when games like DOOM or Ultima Underworld came out there wasn't much to kill there. Ports that American companies made were probably done with the European market in mind. The Atari ST situation must have been worse, but even it got a Ultima VI port that was exclusively released in Europe.

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  7. To explain U.K. development somewhat;- Look at the 8-bit origins. There's a leaning towards scenario strategy rather than roleplaying (Lords of Chaos, Lords of Midnight), caused in part by the popularity of tape based games during the 80s.

    The UK developers had better access to the European market than the US one, so visual, 'text-light' titles were preferred because they had less of a potential language barrier for export.

    It's not fair to judge the market purely on the basis of 2 titles by a mediocre developer. The CRPG market in Europe is borne out of a evolution of popular board, strategy, and adventure games as much as it is influenced by the US-Japan market.

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    1. No, I didn't mean to suggest that I was judging all U.K. games; it was just that these were the only two I'd played. But your first two paragraphs give good answers to my question.

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    2. The greatest game of the 80s, Elite, came from a UK developer.

      Wait, um. Hurmm. Portal might be better, it was American.

      ....ok, one of the two best games....

      (Neither are CRPGS though)

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    3. "What was it about this era that made U.K. developers focus so much on graphics yet still not "get" CRPGs?" - You might want to add a 'some' or a 'certain' in there Chet.

      In fairness - I'm struggling to think of a 'great' UK developed crpg (or PnP rpg since everyone's favourite purveyor of space marine mediocrity killed the local market) that isn't either indie or doesn't have its roots in another genre.
      The only old series I can remember is Trazere - ( Bloodwych, Legend, Hexx), and the first game in that series made you quit, the second is decent but bloated, and Hexx is bugged to hell.

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  8. The "nationality" of CRPGs is a funny thing to think about. For example German games, even the worse ones (although I believe Germans made some of the best CRPGs out there), usually have very solid RPG mechanics. French ones can be of different quality, but they all have something weird about them, even if it's not always easy to point at (a trait they share with French SF/Fantasy books). Russian CRPGs are, sadly, distiguished mostly by abysmal writing quality. And JRPGs have even a separate subgenre. Turns out, even with all the globalisation, local cultures are still far from being dead.

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    1. I'm really interested what chet thinks about Darklands and Realms of Arkania

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    2. @marc_aut: Never played Realms of Arkania, I will have to check it out -- but I agree with you on Darklands...and tend to agree more and more as Chet writes about what sorts of CRPGs he enjoys. For someone who doesn't want to have to memorize where everything is in a town, but still wants to do a lot of exploration in an extremely rich world that was well-thought-out by the designers, I am convinced it will be one of the better on the list, probably the next "Dark Heart of Uukrul" (ie, the next surprising gem that he hasn't played yet).

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    3. @Sam: RoAs are actually very similar to Darklands in the sense that they also offer a very realistic simulation (one category that in my opinion is sorely missing from the gimlet ;)) of adventurer's life, only they're turn-based and more plot-heavy.

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    4. @marc_aut: I think Darklands are probably going to score high on the gameworld, character system, encounters, equipment and economy but not so high on NPCs, gameplay (no saving in dungeons, ugh) and combat, but we'll see how it turns out.

      Oh, and I'm pretty sure "the next surprising gem" will be Tunnels&Trolls. If bugs won't sink it, that is.

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    5. I love Darklands - simply because it's the only video game in existence to actually feature my home town :D
      It should be noted, however, that Germany is merely the setting - the game was developed by Americans.

      As for the Realms of Arkania (Das Schwarze Auge) titles... I absolutely love those games, but I wonder how well they translate. A big part of the appeal back then was the fact that they were adaptions of the most P&P RPG system in Germany (Das Schwarze Auge was far more successful in Germany than even D&D back then). The ruleset is positively *bonkers* compared to AD&D.

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    6. Yes the combat is something which I never get warm in Darklands. I like the combat system of Realms of arkania much better (especially in startrail, where they get rid of some issues)

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    7. @InnerPartisan: RoAs were among the first RPGs I've played, and I knew nothing about DSA (or even DnD) at the time - and totally loved them. So it's not just about the adaptations.

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    8. @InnerPartisanOctober
      I've played the games in german and english, the translation of Blade of destiny is OK, Star trail has a better translation.

      @VK
      I bought my first PC with Tie Fighter and Star Trail, both were stunning games

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    9. I personally agree on combat, but judging from how much Chet really enjoyed the tactical Pool of Radiance-style combat, it seems like he might even enjoy that area of Darklands more than some of us who may prefer Might & Magic-style combat (for lack of a better way to put it, even though I know M&M wasn't the first to do that type of combat).

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    10. @Sam: RoA's combat isn't M&M-style, it's much like GoldBoxes (isometric TB with action points) only with smaller battle maps and different rules.

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    11. the magic system is a little bit confusing when you no nothing about the dark eye ^^

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    12. @VK: Interesting, I'll check it out. I didn't mention it, but my comment above was in reference to Darklands though, not RoA (which I have never played). What I meant to say is that Chet seems to like combat that is closer to Pool of Radiance's combat layout than combat closer to Might & Magic's combat layout. For this reason, he may not find the Darklands combat system as annoying as some of us who otherwise love Darklands did...at least, once he realizes the obscure key to scroll (I think it is holding down shift and moving the pointer to the edge of the screen if I remember correctly).

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    13. @Sam: The problem with Darklands combat isn't its layout, it's it being RTwP i.e. a clusterf*ck. Though Chet seems to like Baldur's Gate so you may be right.

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    14. Ahh, I see, RTwP (which I assume is Real-Time with Pause) is your beef with it. It makes a lot more sense now. I personally don't mind RTwP, but I can see why it would frustrate some people.

      For me, as a kid age 12 that had only experienced Might & Magic 2 for "real" RPGs up to that point, the combat layout was the hardest part for me to adapt to because it was so different from what I was used to...but the rest of the game made me want to learn the combat system, and I am glad I did. I still have some preference toward MM2-style combat because the combat doesn't take as long to resolve and provides an equal number of actions to be selected; that said, especially when I go back and play Gold Box games (and when I play Darklands now), I can certainly see the value of the combat layout.

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  9. Don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but in Wizardry VI there's a pretty heinous bug that makes high level mass damage spells fail frequently, such that they're so unreliable as to basically be useless. Make sure you get the patch for this one (the Ultimate Archives version is not already patched). There's also a bug where carrying capacity doesn't get recalculated when characters' strengths go up, and there's a utility you can get to do this for you, although I generally just make sure all characters have a relatively high strength starting out so I don't have to worry about it.

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    1. Do you know if the GoG version is patched accordingly? I'm going to at least try to get into Wizardry 6 for a bit while Chet is going through it...although I'm sure Morrowind will distract me quite a bit, I at least want to experience some of the Wizardry mechanics...I have it from GoG, though.

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    2. I'm using the GoG version and it comes pre-patched, with the exception of the carrying capacity.. there seems to be some debate if that is a bug or just a lame design choice. In any event I downloaded it, but it's more of a hack you run on your save game, and it adjusts your CC based on current stats. There seems to be a few things "set in stone" when creating a character one is the CC and another is mana regeneration, which is based off your initial class. I ended up with a starting party of 3 mages and 2 priests for the high mana regeneration and a bard (for the lute). I had placed my bonus points so every character could immediately change to an elite class before I even took one step. I guess I missed out on some special armour and items but it has not been to much of a problem, my fairy ninja kicks tons of butt even nude, I like to think of is as form of psychological warfare. =)

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  10. [blockquote]On to Wizardry VI![/blockquote]

    YAY! :D
    A word of warning, though: The character creation process is a [b]major[/b] pain in the effing arse - because the better classes have stat requirements and [i]there is no reroll option[/i]. Even though it technically constitutes cheating, you might as well save yourself some hours and use mad god's editor: http://mad-god.webs.com/
    It won't let you edit your characters outright, but only gives you a much higher chance of getting the maximum free skill points during character creation.

    Some more tips (I've never played any of the older Wizardrys nor read your reviews yet, so I don't know how the systems compare):

    - Your starting party needs a bard
    - Change classes early and often! I takes as much exp to go from level 10 to 11 as it does to go from level 1 to 9.
    - There's no reason for your party to have more than one male character. In fact, that's a bad idea.

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    1. Well, it can be pain. But, on normal difficulty not needed. I played it through with predefined party, made a few class change throughout the game, and grinded a few minutes. It wasn't very easy, but i didn't have to turn down to easy (well ok, i had a few reloads, but at later stages, the enemy spells can be very painful). Ofcourse powergamers want to use every bit, but totally playable without hours of sweeting because of rerolling. I am huge fan of predefined characters, and ofcourse that team don't have bard, and only few females.

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  11. "They are Bachim the Alchemist, Quered the She-Vampire, and Ametrin the Green Beast."

    The screenshot under this line actually lists the vampire's name as "Ouread". Just something to proof if this becomes a page in your book.

    Okay, so Ametrin finally assembled the three pieces of the talisman... then what? Did he turn the country green like him?

    If anyone has beaten the game with the other characters - does Ouread establish a vampire oligarchy? Does Bachim blow up the world in an alechemical experiment gone wrong?

    Or to put it another way, does this game have any more of an ending than "Congratulations, you won"?

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    1. I was hoping no one would ask. After the screenshot I captured, there was another congratulatory screen or two before it led me to the main screen and scrolled the game's credits. I was frigging around with my screen recording software, trying to capture the game's end, and I missed the screenshots for those final screens (they flew by pretty quickly). My last save had been about six turns prior, so I declined to go back and grab them.

      You're right about the spelling. "Quered" is the way the manual has it.

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  12. http://www.rogerdavies.com/2009/04/dragons-breath-dragon-lord-video-game-for-atari-st-by-palace-software/
    Aren't those the spells you needed?

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    1. That does look like it, though note that they're all the ones he knows about, and someone had to figure them out through trial-and-error; it wasn't just a matter of missing the documentation. Looking at those while playing the game would have been akin to looking at spoilers.

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  13. That's a bit off topic but I was thinking, while looking at the 'Recent and upcoming' list of games at the top right of your blog, that the word 'dragon' came quit often in that list. I checked in the list of the games you played so far (visually and quite quickly so I might be mistaken) and there seems to be a certain concentration of games with 'dragon' around that time. I don't know if there is anything to conclude though... :)

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    1. Hum, Pern came out decades before that, but it did get popular again around that time I think (3 novels or so came out between 88 and 92 I think). Dragonlance was really popular around then I think? It could have also been a spitball effect, where a few came out with Dragon's in the name, and then others copied them?

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    2. Gotta love the Drakes

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  14. dragonflight isn't much of a crpg if it's the game i remember, just a flight sim in krynn, on a dragon. you do level up and get items, but in essence just a flight sim.

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    1. Yeah, someone told me that a few years ago, but I wanted to try it anyway because it sounded cool.

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    2. looks like it was dragonstrike

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    3. You do increase in hit points in DragonStrike, but thats largely irrelevant. But its a really fun game, that I have a few hints for when you get to, so its cool...

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    4. I can get playing old CRPGs, since the technical side really takes a backseat here, but what's the point of playing a 20 years dated flight sim? Even given it's a dragon flight sim, there are more recent and much more user-friendly ones.

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    5. Dragonflight is a proper CRPG, the first big production of its kind from Germany. I never got around to playing it, but the spiritual succesor (Amberstar) remains one of my fondest childhood computerplaying memories. :)

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    6. VK- because its a [i]Dragon[/i] fllght sim!

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    7. Also, it's using the official AD&D license, and is set in Krynn. That doesn't make it an RPG, but it makes many people *mistake* it for an RPG, so to speak ;)

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  15. I remember this on the Amiga. Personally I found it a nice idea but too easy, but then again (1) I am a strategy person, and (2) I understood how to make spells.

    You had to experiment, but it was not too hard to find out what ingredients did and how to mix powerful potions. Like most strategy games, the AI is actually pretty brain-dead.

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  16. The original manual had big charts of which ingredient did what, and how heating/mixing/slicing/whatever affected it.
    There's an ascii version here: http://www.lemonamiga.com/games/docs.php?id=514 (scroll down to the bottom) which is a bit harder to read than the original but is better than nothing.

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  17. What color is Ametrin the Green Beast? You'd think green, right? You'd be wrong. It's red.

    Nobody has said this yet, but the guy has green skin. This isn't a color blind issue again, is it?

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    1. Pretty sure the statement was in reference to the color used to mark their holdings on the map, not the color of the character's skin.

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  18. Out of curiosity, since the three playable characters are already named, what's the significance of the name "Simon Hunter" on the fourth screenshot? Is that part of the credits or something?

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    1. Yes, it's part of the credits. They scroll continually while on that screen.

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  19. Can I ask where you got your Dragon Lord disk image from? The ones hosted by myabandonware etc. all seem to be corrupt (fail with Error 11 shortly after starting the game).
    see http://www.abandonia.com/vbullet/showthread.php?p=451182

    Would love to hear how you got hold of a good, clean copy.

    Thanks.

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    1. I honestly don't remember. I Googled around and just found it.

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  20. This game reminds me of an old french Amiga game called "Storm Master". You were the head of a country in eternal war with another country. It was neither pure strategy game, neither pure simulation, there was real-time combat, mini-games and everything revolved around the power of wind. You had to design your own army troops by making your vehicles exploit wind power, but the system was hard to understand. You could also pray to the gods of the winds and trade goods on the stock market. It wasn't an RPG at all, but it was one of these weird french games that are neither really good or bad, but they stick in your mind.

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  21. Hi guys,

    We are developing a remake of this really wonderfull game. It´s called Master Of dragons. You can see a intro in:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7WJEZor11g

    Like us and stay tunned in our facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/AdamantiteSf

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    Replies
    1. Best of luck. It was an interesting premise and could definitely benefit from a remake.

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